Best Surbahar Academy & Exhibition - Rohatgi Music & Art Gallery

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Surbahar

Overview

The Surbahar, also known as the bass sitar, is a large and majestic stringed instrument that belongs to the family of North Indian classical musical instruments. Known for its deep and resonant tones, the Surbahar shares similarities with the Sitar but is larger in size and lower in pitch.

Its design includes a long, wide neck, a gourd-shaped body, and a larger resonating chamber compared to the Sitar. The Surbahar typically has fewer sympathetic strings compared to the Sitar, allowing for a focus on the main playing strings.

Played in a manner akin to the Sitar, the Surbahar is plucked and fretted with a metal pick or mizrab worn on the index finger. Musicians use various techniques like meend (gliding between notes), gamak (ornamentation), and taans (fast melodic passages) to create intricate melodies and explore the instrument's expansive tonal range.

The Surbahar's lower register allows for a deeper, more contemplative exploration of ragas (melodic modes) and lends itself well to slow and meditative compositions within Indian classical music.

Learning to play the Surbahar requires dedication, as it demands mastery of the instrument's techniques and a deep understanding of the nuances of Indian classical music. Students undergo rigorous training under a guru (teacher) to explore the instrument's capabilities fully.

While the Surbahar might not be as widely recognized as the Sitar, its rich and resonant tones, along with its ability to convey profound emotions and intricate melodies, solidify its importance as a revered instrument within the world of Indian classical music.